I sat in the waiting room, absently watching the T.V. in the small room. It was set to HGTV, and an episode of Home Town was playing. They were looking for something girly. The man on the show told the woman she looked gorgeous, and the other guys asked if they needed to get a room. Everyone laughed.
The waiting room chairs were not spaced out to allow for social distancing because the room was so tiny. Instead, they had tape across certain ones with a sign that read, “Do not sit here!” The woman waiting in there before I arrived only shared the room with me for a few minutes before she was called back. It wasn’t until after she left that the man came in.
He was tall and had probably been even taller when he was younger. He wore an old gray ballcap over his short white hair. His cap matched the unbuttoned flannel shirt he had on over a set of denim overalls that had probably seen more decades than I have. One strap was fastened over the shoulder, and the other strap hung down.
He smiled as he sat down and asked me, “You been here long?” I returned the smile and said, “Oh about 10 minutes.” I put my phone away in my purse. I just knew he was going to be a talker. It wasn’t my first rodeo. “She wouldn’t let me leave the house!” he said. I looked at him and said, “Oh yeah?” I didn’t ask who. I knew he was going to tell me. “She’s out in the truck now. I just couldn’t leave her,” he said. I tilted my head slightly and replied with an ambiguous, “Aww.”
“I said I never wanted no house dog,” he began. “My wife, she said we were going to babysit her. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Babysit. A dog!” I chuckled with him. “The next thing I knew, she just hopped right up in my lap, and that’s where she sits now,” he said. “What kind is she?” I asked him. “She’s a Cockapoo,” he replied. “Those are adorable!” I said.
“My wife, she died a year ago,” he said. He stopped talking a minute, and we just sat there, the T.V. still chattering on in the background. “Ever since, she can’t stand when I leave, this dog. I tell her I’ll be back in a little bit, but sometimes it’s too long for her,” he said. “Well, that makes sense,” I replied.
I told him we had a border collie. “Oh man. My neighbor got himself one of those. That old boy loves to play with this big plastic pot. He barks at it and runs it all around and sometimes gets it stuck on his head. He whines and cries till someone comes and gets it off. It’s the darndest thing!” We laughed. “He does like to come to the fence and bark at my girl. When he gets that thing on his head, they all start barking!” He said, while he shook his head.
Just then, another man came into the room to wait for his turn. He wore a mask, like us, but also a low pulled hat, dark glasses, and gloves. The germs were not going to get him today. He took a phone call as soon as he sat down. We ignored him.
The older gentleman stood up and dug his cell phone out of his pocket. He swiped a few times to bring up the pictures. “Look at her!” he said loudly. We were clearly not going to speak quietly to accommodate the interloper on his phone. I took the phone he handed me and looked at his best girl. She was a dark grey, with hints of black in certain areas. “Oh, she has beautiful color!” I told him.
“I couldn’t get out without her today. It was either take her with me or not come at all,” he said. “Well, you do what you’ve gotta do!” I said. Just then, the attendant came and called my name to go. “It was nice talking to you!” I told the man on the way out. “You, too. You have a nice day, now!” he said.